Saturday, February 18, 2012

Table It!...Part 5...Creating a Table with Census Returns

I originally started talking about tables because Michelle (a reader) likes to take census returns and present them to her clients in a table. Therefore, that's the example I'm going to use for creating a table. The table will include every census entry with the surname McKee in Randolph County, Illinois in 1850.

The first thing I have to do is create a plan for the table.

  1. Am I going to have entries only for the 1850 census or am I doing other census years?
    If only 1850, you can be more artistic and place the title in the table.
    If more, you will likely want to have a title that can be picked up in a Table of Contents (TOC).
  2. Do I want the table title to appear in a TOC?
    If yes, place the title of the table above the table and apply a Heading Style (probably a Heading 3).
    If no, you can be more artistic and place the title in the table. 
  3. Do I want to include every column that appears in the census?
    If yes, change the page orientation to landscape (wider than tall).
    If no, you might be able to fit the table on a portrait page.
    In addition, you can treat the table as a graphic and turn it so that it fits sides ways on a portrait page. We'll talk about this process in a later post. 
  4. Do you have enough skills to construct the table in the middle of your document?
    If yes, go for it.
    If no, open a new document. When you have the table you want, you can copy and paste it into your document.
Here's the table I constructed in a separate landscaped page with a Heading 3 title. 

Here's the table I constructed in a separate landscaped page with a sidebar title (won't be in TOC).

The tables have a couple of problems. 
  1. The first table breaks in the middle of a row in the table. That doesn't happen in the second table.
  2. The headings don't show on the second page. 
These problems are easily fixed using menu options and table properties. However, first you need to reproduce the table. I'll take you through those steps in the next post, because there are a few new instructions (for example, changing page orientation so that you can construct the table). 

So see you in the next table post...


  1. Do you know about this web site...

    Debbe Hagner

    1. Hi Debbe--No, I didn't know about the website. Using Excel to complete this task would work just as well. You would also be able to turn an Excel spreadsheet into graphics and turn them using the exact same method I'll be describing for the Word table. The one problem that I can foresee is trying to judge how many lines can fit on the page of a Word report. It's another case of several approaches to solving the same problem. Knowing about all of your options is a good thing. So thank you for pointing out the website. I'm sure people will be interested in visiting the site to see what this gentleman has to offer.

  2. Ooh. Sidebar title. I like that.

    1. OK, I'll do those instructions too. The deal would be that you add "Census" with a Heading style applied for the table of contents (assuming you have a doc that long enough to require one). Then you could add several census tables each with sidebar titles.

      You can get very artistic with these tables. I'll get into that too.